2014 Election Ballots Nearly Finalized, Some Challenges Still Pending, Antoinette Gray Perhaps Rep. Welch’s Only Obstacle to Running Unchallenged

By Michael Romain

The ballots for local, county and statewide seats to be contested during the upcoming March 18, 2014, Gubernatorial Primary Elections came a step closer to being finalized after court hearings for candidate objections were held today.

Dan Roche, a Democratic candidate from River Forest challenging incumbent Rep. Danny K. Davis’s 7th Congressional seat in the United States House of Representatives, had his candidacy objected by Clayton C. Boyd of Chicago. The 7th Congressional District covers all of Maywood. At press time, the status of Roche’s candidacy was still pending. This was also the case with the candidacies of incumbent State Senator Don Harmon (D-39th) and his Democratic challenger Bob Galhotra, both of whose candidacies were challenged last month.

Antoinette “Toni” Gray, challenger to State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, a Democrat who represents the 7th District, which covers most of Maywood, had her candidacy objected to by Daphne Walker of Bellwood. Walker’s challenge, as of 4:05 pm today, is still pending as both campaigns wait for the Office of the County Clerk’s Election Department and/or the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners to compare the petitions and objections issued with registration records.

According to the objector’s petition, Walker challenged Gray’s candidacy based on claims that the Maywood businesswoman submitted invalid nomination papers and does not meet the residency requirements to run for office in the 7th District. Illinois election law requires a candidate to establish residency in a particular district for at least two years before running for office in that district. Rep. Welch’s campaign claims to have documentation proving that within the last two years, Gray voted in DuPage County, effectively establishing her residency there (since a person must live where he or she votes).

Rep. Welch’s potential Republican challenger, Mark Salispan, also challenged by Daphne Walker, had his candidacy withdrawn, which means that Antoinette Gray may be the only obstacle separating Rep. Welch from running completely unchallenged–unless an unlikely independent candidate comes forth to challenge him in the November general election.

The candidacy of Martin D. Reggi, a Democrat who is running against Democrat John Michael Allegretti to fill incumbent Judge Mary Mulhern’s vacancy in the 4th judicial subcircuit district, was objected to by Sharon Allegretti of Riverside. The 4th judicial subcircuit district covers the townships of Proviso, Lyons and Riverside, among others. Allegretti’s challenge, like Walker’s, is also in the examination process.

In the race for Democratic Committeeman in Proviso Township, the candidacies of the current Committeeman, Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough, and James “Papa” Brewer (both of Maywood) were challenged. The objection to Yarbrough’s candidacy has been withdrawn, while the objection to James Brewer’s candidacy, filed by Art D. Johnson, is still pending.

In the race to replace outgoing Cook County Board Commissioner of the 1st District, Democrat Earlean Collins, the candidacies of Democrat Blake Sercye of Chicago, Democrat Brenda Smith of Chicago, Democrat Oddis “O.J.” Johnson of Chicago and Democrat Ronald Lawless of Oak Park were all challenged. All of those challenges, except for that filed by Betty Fletcher against the candidacy of Johnson, were either overruled or withdrawn. Fletcher’s objection was sustained. VFP

For more information on status of these objections, click here. For more information on the rules and procedures associated with electoral board hearings, click here.

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